Tombstones and their epitaphs yield excellent evidence on the nature of the population of Hellenistic and Roman Cyprus.n1
Analysis of these monuments can reveal who the deceased were, their social classes, ethnic origins, and religious beliefs. The material provides commentary on the status of women and children, the relative prosperity of the island, and the degree of aggregation of the inhabitants to the culture of its rulers, be they Ptolemaic kings or Roman emperors.
|Figure 1: Mitford's division of Cyprus into districts|
Discussion of the tomb markers and related funerary sculpture proceeds by type, and is comprised of a description, discussion of its material, function, distribution through time and space, and the issue of local vs. foreign origin.n2
The epitaph formulae are defined in Part III, and the questions addressed are similar to those discussed in Part II, with the added concerns as to who was commemorated, including issues of gender, age, class, ethnicity, profession, religious affiliation, and the identity of the mourners. Of particular interest is what these monuments reveal about the interactions of Cyprus with the rest of the eastern Mediterranean during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.